Strengthening the Community Hunger Fighters approach for Odisha

Community participation is the basis of successful health promotion in the community. Community Hunger Fighters (CHF) is a learner-centred nutrition literacy approach with people’s participation at its core and a community-led initiative devised by MSSRF.

Community members from 47 villages will turn hunger fighters as part of a project on “Strengthening Livelihoods and Enhancing Food and Nutrition Security of Small and Marginal Farmers through a Farming System Model” funded by Department of Agriculture and Farmer’s Empowerment, Govt. of Odisha under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY). As an ongoing project in Koraput district, Odisha, the project is focusing on improving health, nutrition and livelihood status of small and marginal farming communities by ensuring availability and access to nutrient rich food in a farming system model over a period of three years (2018- 21). The objectives are: i) promoting production of nutrient-dense foods (millets, pulses, fruits and vegetables, backyard poultry and aquaculture), both for consumption and commerce; ii) reduction of post-harvest losses through initiatives like support for safe community level food storage, processing and conservation and support for market linkages; iii) nutrition awareness for the community (farming communities and consumers as a whole) on agriculture-nutrition linkages.

Through an intensive workshop the staff members working with the project were trained by Dr. Rama Narayanan, Nutrition Specialist, who initiated the CHF approach at MSSRF. The workshop was held in September 2019 at MSSRF, Chennai for 10 team members who in turn will facilitate participation of around 90 CHFs with training and ongoing support.

The workshop helped participants understand their own nutritional status and food consumption pattern and also concepts such as relationship building and implementing the same at the community level.

Over the next few weeks, men and women representing different social groups selected by the village community will be capacitated through training on nutrition and related aspects to operate as CHF at the community level to spread the learning.  More information about the CHF initiative can be found here, http://59.160.153.188/library/sites/default/files/CHF%20Tool%20Kit.pdf

A pilot in implementing such an adult nutrition literacy programme was first undertaken by MSSRF in 18 villages of Koraput district, Odisha during 2012 – 2015[1]. Subsequently, it was  implemented as part of the Farming system for Nutrition (FSN) study under the research programme, “Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA)”, in 5  villages of Wardha district, Maharashtra and 7 villages of Koraput district, Odisha during 2013- 2018. Assessment of impact showed a moderate spread effect of the nutrition information in the community due to the CHF approach[2].

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